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Corps still reviewing comments on land transfer to tribes 7-07

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The Army Corps of Engineers is still reviewing comments on a proposal to transfer 24,000 acres around Lake Sakakawea to the Three Affiliated Tribes, a corps official says.

“They're taking a lot of investigation,” corps project manager Larry Janis said.

“One of the major concerns was access,” he said. “There's a lot of different nuances of access, and we have to make sure we get those covered.”

Access has been one issue raised by state officials in their opposition to the tribes' efforts to get back land no longer needed for the operation of the Garrison Dam. The land was taken to build the dam more than 50 years ago.

Tribal officials pressed their case during July to John Woodley Junior, the assistant secretary of the Army's Office of Civil Works, when he visited the New Town area.

Janis said the corps also must review details about the land ownership. He said boat ramps and wildlife management areas are not part of the land being considered for return to the tribes.

The corps has hundreds of comments to consider before making a final decision, Janis said.

“Right now, there is no timetable,” he said.
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